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What counterinsurgency tactics have you noticed from people in power?

August 31, 2020
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What are some counterinsurgency tactics you've noticed this summer?  This isn't rhetorical.  I want you to reflect on what things you have seen people—especially people with clear connections to the existing power structure—do that have led to the demobilization, suppression, discrediting, intimidation, or marginalization of the movement for black lives and against police brutality?  Learning and recognizing these tactics is crucial. Talk with your friends about how these tactics work. Give voice to it. Here are some that people named in one big thread:

- Straight up lynching.

- Blaming popular uprisings by colonized people and their working class and radical accomplices on outside agitators or explicitly on white anarchists (a classic, referred to as crackerjacketing)

- Avoiding mass plea deal refusals, which paralyze courts, by dropping most misdemeanor charges and focusing heavily on felony charges against people- using media to highlight those who can be framed as outside agitators while quietly ruining the lives of black rebels.

- Normalizing immediate and strict curfews and national guard deployments in civil unrest events.

- Demanding "community leaders" who rely on having "a seat at the table" to speak to their ethnic and neighborhood communities to obey the curfews and occupying troops, in order to keep their seat at the table.

- Capitulating with generous or even radical initial concessions only to allow these to be downscaled and defeated by political machinery after the uprising that spurred these concessions is demobilized.

- Using federal forces to deploy force more brutal than liberal mayors (who are more sophisticated about counterinsurgency) are willing to do. Actually deeply counterproductive for the state!

- Cops accepting the help of right wing death squads, standing by as they commit violence, or directing left wing protestors towards them to be brutalized.

- Blaming violence within autonomous zones or sanctuary zones on the people who've won autonomy, ignoring that the violence is a continuation of the violence that already existed in broken, poor communities ridden with interpersonal violence. Using this violence, which has been there unaddressed for untold years, as the causus belli for smashing the autonomous/sanctuary zone.

- Cutting off utilities, port-o-johns, and other life supporting systems to areas where residents and protestors have claimed autonomy.

- Having cops hold hand with protestors for the pictures or kneel minutes before gassing everyone.

- Deplatforming rebel voices from popular and social media

- Intentional conflating, by police and media (and liberal nonprofits!), of white supremacists and left-wing and anarchist anti-racists

- Framing police departments with black chiefs as black led institutions

- DAs handing off cases that they later say they believe the charges will not work. In Utah where activists are facing heightened charges for destruction of property by adding gang charges, facing life sentences for red paint on building.

- Focusing on extremely conservative and counterrevolutionary black leaders as the sole arbiters of what is acceptable.

- In Asheville NC, offering a bogus “reparations” package that is entirely without substance and heavily, internationally, publicizing its passage to overshadow extreme police brutality and encourage a positive view by tourists.

- Wider usage of drones to monitor.

- Effective weaponization of liberals, as always, to cleave a segment of our power.

- Hands off approach for many days and then quick and unpredictable brutality.

- Blaming everything going on as being a product of Trump administration (rather than him being a product of history/system), not as a long, historical issue. Telling people the way to solve long-time police brutality in this white supremacist system is through electoralism, specifically presidential. Pointing to Democratic run cities/states and saying, "See, this is what happens when Trump is in office."

- Framing the US left as foreign agents- framing antifascists as an international terrorist group taking orders from Kurds in Syria, or BLM as a Chinese backed movement.

- -Media focus on agonizing over property damage. Conflating that damage with violence. Activists and sympathizers in media asked to disavow looters.

-Provoking the class racist fear of poor black criminals, and a fear of defenselessness in commercials about a world without cops.

-The seizing hold of the past by the hegemonic denial of the continued legacy of slavery, establishing slavery and anti-black racist policies in general as remote and irrelevant. In this light, claims for redress based on this history and it’s enduring legacy are disqualified and belittled as ridiculous or unintelligible, with some conservative critics going so far as to denigrate these claims as racist acts themselves.